It’s fascinating when world-class leaders share the mindset, attributes, and experiences that contributed to their success. However, rarely are you offered such an emotional insight into what makes them tick.
Bill Mcdermott is a born leader, who has made a career of empowering people to exceed their limitations. He is a salesperson of the highest calibre, with the rare ability to impart his knowledge and passion onto others. These skills, combined with integrity and grit, helped him climb the corporate ladder to become CEO of one of the world’s largest technology companies, SAP. Winners Dream - A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office maps his journey from New York Deli owner to boardroom, laying the path for those wishing to follow.
Some stand out moments are:
1. The numerous stories of salesmanship that come from years in the field, such as race walking to meetings to get the adrenaline flowing and demonstrating the emotional intelligence of knowing when to press customers or give them space.
2. The Checklist. At 41 years old, between leaving Siebel and joining Gartner, Bill made a list of what was important to him. Being a similar age today, it was interesting to me that our lists are almost identical. Bill then had the foresight to adjust his career course.
3. The high standard of integrity with which Bill conducts himself is evident throughout the book, particularly when he explains how he tackled under-performing markets and personal loss, while continuing to put his staff and customers first.
4. McDermott never shied away from any challenge. This is an admirable quality and crucial to inspiring and leading sales professionals. Another trait is understanding the power of unity and seeking to align everybody in tackling seemingly unobtainable targets. These are invaluable lessons when scaling a business.
In my mind, true success is when you achieve great things and not forget where you began. It is a “giving” mindset that is demonstrated on every page and when the author pays homage to the people he has met and cherished along the way. It’s a long story, beautifully told, and I gladly recommend it.